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How to Stretch Your Dog + Support Their Muscles

April 07, 2023 3 min read

Don’t dogs stretch on their own?  

Does your dog stretch when they see you or when they get up from a nap? This is not only great for their muscles, but it is a sign they’re comfortable with you!  When dogs bow their head low, this shows trust and submission. It’s called a greeting bow, meaning your dog is comfortable with you and saying “hello.” 

Did you know you can help your dog stretch other muscles too? You can, it’s an excellent way to bond and spend time with them, and it also helps keep their bodies in tip-top shape. 

Why should you stretch your dog?

Stretching your dog is like helping them do doggy yoga. It has the same benefits for them as it does for you. You’re elongating and increasing blood flow to tight muscles when you go to a yoga class. 

When you help your dog stretch their muscles, you’re helping them release stress and tension all over its body. Stretching has so many benefits for the body. It helps to flow blood to muscle groups you don’t usually target during everyday movements and activities. 

How to stretch your dog

How to Stretch Your Dog + Support Their MusclesIt’s best to start stretching your dog when they are already in a relaxed mood. You will be manipulating their legs and moving around their hips. Make sure you have enough room for both of you on the ground. 

If your dog has a trouble area (like an injury or arthritis), it’s best not to overwork or over-stretch those areas but not to avoid them together. Remember, we are encouraging blood flow circulation but not forcing anything.

Starting on their back legs, you can work with one at a time if they are lying on their tummy, but make sure to work both sides for an equal amount of time.  If you can lay them on their back, you can work with both legs simultaneously! 

Gently pull to straighten both legs hold for a few seconds, and release. You can rub their belly at the same time and make them happy!

Then move up to support theirhipswith both hands. You can gently lift them towards the sky with your fingertips, but only by a few inches. Letting their legs hang heavy stretches their spine and opens their hips. Hold for a few seconds and release. 

Moving to thefront legs, you can work with both or one at a time. Replicating what you did with the back legs, stretch each leg towards their face, hold for a few seconds, and then release. 

Neck stretching is perfect for older dogs. Use a treat and ask them to bring their nose to the front of their shoulder. Ask them to do this to both sides, again holding the position for a few seconds before releasing.

Each stretch can be repeated as often as you and your dog are comfortable with as long as you are not forcing them into positions but instead encouraging movement. Making sure they are staying relaxed and not uncomfortable. Go ahead and stretch away. 

What else can I do to help my dog?

Compression clothing is another option to help your dog's muscles, joints, and tendons. Compression clothing for dogs also aids in comfort for anxious or trauma-recovering dogs. There are many options for compression clothes or wraps on the market for canine comfort. 

Each is designed to help with similar issues, but like everything else, some are better than others. So find one that checks off all of your boxes. I recommend a lightweight, breathable fabric with many sizes available so you can find one that fits your dog just right. 

Benefab offers a few options, but the Comfort & Care Shirt is my favorite. It helps to increase circulation and oxygen flow which, in the end, results in decreased inflammation. The fabric makes it different from most other compression shirts on the market. 

It’s machine washable; itemits far-infrared rays keeping muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments supple and relaxed. It does all that, and it’s still lightweight enough to wear all year round! 

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